The Generation Professionals Group is for utility professionals who work in biomass, coal, gas/oil, hydro, natural gas, or nuclear power generation fields. 


CFC Destruction of Ozone - Major Cause of Recent Global Warming!

Bob Ashworth's picture
Sr. VP

Mr. Ashworth is a chemical engineer and has presented over 50 technical papers on fuels and fuel related subjects. Relating to the subject of global warming, he has written two papers, "CFC...

  • Member since 2004
  • 143 items added with 39,120 views
  • Sep 4, 2009

There has been a lot of discussion about global warming. Some say anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused the earth to warm. Others say there is no abnormality at all, that it is just natural warming. As you will see from the data presented and analyzed, a greater than normal warming did occur in recent times but no measurements confirm an increase in CO2 emissions, whether anthropogenic or natural, had any effect on global temperatures. There is however, strong evidence that anthropogenic emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were the major cause of the near recent abnormal warming.

CFCs have created both unnatural atmospheric cooling and warming based on these facts:

  • CFCs destroyed ozone in the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere causing these zones in the atmosphere to cool 1.37 oC from 1966 to 1998. This time span was selected to eliminate the effect of the natural solar irradiance (cooling-warming) cycle effect on the earth's temperature.
  • The loss of ozone allowed more UV light to pass through the stratosphere at a sufficient rate to warm the lower troposphere plus 10" of the earth by 0.48 oC (1966 to 1998).
  • Mass and energy balances show that the energy that was absorbed in the lower stratosphere- upper troposphere hit the lower troposphere-earth at a sustainable level of 1.71 x 1018 Btu more in 1998 than it did in 1966.
  • Greater ozone depletion in the Polar Regions caused these areas to warm up some two and one-half (2 ½) times that of the average earth temperature (1.2 oC vs. 0.48 oC) rise. This has caused permafrost to melt, which is releasing copious quantities of methane, estimated at 100 times that of manmade CO2 release, to the atmosphere. Methane in the atmosphere slowly converts to CO2 and water vapor and its release has contributed to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
  • There is a temperature anomaly in Antarctica. The Signey Island landmass further north, warmed like the rest of the Polar Regions; but south at Vostok, there has been a cooling effect. Although the cooling at Vostok needs to be analyzed in more detail, because of the large ozone hole there, black body radiation from Vostok (some 11,400 feet above sea level) to outer space is most likely the cause. Especially, since this phenomenon occurred over the same period that stratospheric ozone destruction took place.
No Empirical Evidence for CO2 Causing Global Warming

Recent empirical data (1) show that atmospheric CO2 concentrations have no discernible effect on global temperature, see Figure 1. The temperature plots shown are from two sources; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) and the United Kingdom's (UK) Hadley Climate Research Unit. The CO2 plot is from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. A certified meteorologist developed the temperature -- CO2 concentration graph from the data sources.

While CO2 levels increased some 20 ppmv over the past 10 years, global temperatures did not increase as predicted by the IPCC models -- they fell! The earth's temperature from 1998 to 2008 dropped by 0.7 to 0.8 oC depending on which temperature set is chosen for comparison.

Besides a carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere, concentration of methane has increased 2.5 times from pre-industrial time (700 ppbv) to 1,745 ppbv in 1998 (2). In 2000, methane concentrations leveled off at 1755 ppbv and currently are slowly dropping. Two years earlier, stratospheric CFC concentrations leveled off and started to drop slowly, so methane emissions look like they are tied to depletion of ozone. Where is the methane coming from? A recent study (3) showed that the permafrost is melting in North Siberia and is releasing methane from the surface of thawing lakes that has been sequestered there since the Pleistocene era (10,000 to one million years ago). Further, the researchers' estimate that methane carbon is being emitted at a rate some 100 times the rate of carbon dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels. Methane (CH4) slowly converts to CO2 in the atmosphere and this is the most likely cause for increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

Ozone Loss Effect

Stratospheric ozone has been diminished by CFCs and other refrigerants-propellants released into the atmosphere. These compounds are broken down by the sun's UV rays and release chlorine and bromine molecules that destroy the ozone. Scientists estimate that one chlorine atom can destroy 100,000 ozone molecules over its life in the stratosphere. With less ozone in the stratosphere, more UV rays hit earth, warming it up and increasing the risk of skin cancer. The protective ozone layer extends from 8 km (upper troposphere) up throughout the whole stratosphere.

The annual mean stratospheric ozone concentration above Antarctica (4) as measured at the British Antarctic Survey Station in Halley Bay (Latitude 76 south, Longitude 26 west) was 319 Dobson Units (standard measurement of ozone concentration) in 1956. In 1995, the mean value was 212 Dobson Units, showing an average drop of 33% from 1966. Although not as severe, ozone concentrations, north of the Arctic Circle, have dropped as well.

It is well known that the warming of the stratosphere is caused by the reaction of ultraviolet light with ozone. Energy is absorbed and ozone (O3) converts to diatomic (O2) and (O) nascent oxygen. Conversely, ozone loss decreases the amount of UV light absorbed and thus causes the stratosphere to cool. The direct effect of ozone concentration on temperature is shown in Figure 2 (5). Excluding the volcanic eruptions of El Chichon, Pinatuba, and others, whenever stratospheric ozone concentration drops, the temperature drops with it and vice versa. This effect is shown clearly from 1995 to 2005.

The legendary hypotheses (6) of Paul Crutzen, Sherwood Rowland, and Mario Molina led to CFCs being banned because they were destroying stratospheric ozone. In 1978, the USA banned the use of CFCs in hair sprays and other aerosols. Then in 1987, the world governments, through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), agreed to limit the production and release of a variety of CFCs at a meeting in Montreal, Canada. Since then the agreement has become known as the Montreal Protocol. CFC production was stopped in developed countries but not in developing countries. It will be produced in China, Mexico and other developing countries until 2010.

CFC's and CCl4 are nearly inert in the troposphere and have lifetimes of 50-200+ years. Total stratospheric organic chlorine is currently a little over 3 ppbv. It is different in the stratosphere; the major source of CFC decomposition there is photolysis (7) reaction with ultraviolet (UV) light radiation. Ultraviolet light has wavelengths in the 200-400 nanometer (nm) range.

UV-A light is a low energy light and only about 5% of the UV-A light is absorbed by ozone. Most reaches the surface of the Earth. UV-B light is of moderate energy and ozone absorbs most of the UV-B light before it reaches the surface of the Earth. UV-C light is a high energy UV light. Both ozone and oxygen molecules absorb the UV-C light before it can reach the Earth's surface. Therefore, when there is low stratospheric ozone, more UV (A, B & C) light from the sun passes through the atmosphere to hit earth and heat it up.

CFC chlorine can take other reaction paths, but this is believed to be the predominant ozone destruction cycle. Though the concentration of CFCs is only around 3 ppbv in the stratosphere, one chlorine atom can destroy some 100,000 ozone molecules during its lifetime there. Since the 1960's the stratosphere has cooled (8), see Figure 3. The data suggest that the cooling is due to a loss of ozone.

When CFC refrigerants started to be produced and released into the atmosphere in the sixties, the stratosphere started to cool. The exceptions to cooling occurred during the times of the major volcanic eruptions of Agung, El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo.

In 1998, the stratosphere was 1.37 oC cooler than it was in 1966. This 1966 to 1998 time span was chosen for analysis to negate the solar irradiance cycle and large volcanic eruption effects. The increase in stratospheric temperature from major volcanic eruptions lasts only two to three years; then the temperature goes back to where it would have been if there were no eruptions. As the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere cooled (1966 to 1998), the troposphere and earth warmed (9) by 0.48 oC see Figure 4.

In the Arctic, from 1966 to 1998 (10), the surface temperature increased 2 ½ times the average global temperature (1.2 oC vs. 0.48 oC), see Figure 5. The much colder than normal stratospheric temperatures cause even a greater loss of ozone and thus make the Polar Region stratospheres even cooler. This is why polar landmasses have warmed more than the rest of the earth. Ice crystals that form provide a surface for chemical reactions that change chlorine compounds that do not react with ozone (e.g. hydrogen chloride) into more active forms that do:

The change in ozone depletion chemicals in the stratosphere versus time (11), including future concentration projections is shown in Figure 6. Because of the Montreal Protocol implementation, CFC concentrations peaked in the late nineties and then started dropping slightly.

The line at 2 ppb corresponds to the time when ozone depletion was first detected (1980). It also shows when major ozone recovery is anticipated (2050 to 2060). Figure 7 shows a correlation of CFC concentration and average stratosphere and earth temperature plotted versus time.

The author plotted this graph based on data from Figures 4, 5 and 6. As shown by the vertical lines, in a logical sequence, CFC concentration started to drop first causing a reduction in stratospheric cooling and then a reduction in earth warming. When one sees like trends, it is a good indication that the trends are related to one another.

Large solar heating-cooling cycle variations occur every 80,000 to 110,000 years, but the sun's thermostat also changes in shorter term cooling-warming cycles of approximately 11 years (12), see Figure 9. The period chosen for analysis to negate this effect as mentioned previously was from 1966 to 1998. At these two points in time, the solar irradiance hitting the earth was approximately the same (1368.8 W/m2).

According to NASA (13), the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere, both of which have cooled together, extends from 19 km down to 8 km above the surface of the earth with the lower troposphere being in the 0 to 8 km elevation. Knowing how much the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere cooled and how much the lower troposphere-earth warmed, mass and energy balances could be made to determine how much more radiant energy hit the earth in 1998 compared to 1966.

Table 1 show mass and energy balances for the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere (19 km down to 8 km above sea level). The balances were made by first calculating the mass of gas in the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere. Then the recorded average temperature for the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere for 1966 and 1998 was used. The lower stratosphere-upper troposphere was 1.37 oC cooler in 1998 than it was in 1966. By subtracting the energy in the lower stratosphere-upper troposphere found in 1966 from that found in 1998 the loss in UV light energy absorption could be calculated. The amount of stratospheric heating from UV-B light in 1998 was 1.7123 x 1018 Btu less than it was in 1966.

The mass and energy balance in Table 2 shows the effect of that additional energy being absorbed by the troposphere/earth in 1998 compared to 1966. The lower troposphere temperature in 1966 (484oR) was used as a base and the added UV light (1.7123 x 1018 Btu) energy passing through the lower stratosphere/upper troposphere was added to the earth/troposphere. Using that increase in UV light energy, after heating the lower troposphere up by 0.48o C there was enough energy left over to heat up ten inches of earth plus water by 0.48 oC. This matches the recorded earth temperature rise from 1966 to 1998.

Added UV light hitting earth accounts for observed warming from 1966 to 1998 (0.48 oC or 0.863 oR)


Many factors influence the earth's temperature. From a scientific analysis, the effect of CO2 is very minimal as shown by an earth temperature drop of around 0.7 to 0.8 oC from 1998 to 2008 during a period when CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increased some 20 ppmv. It should be obvious to anyone analyzing climate change that climate-driving forces, other than CO2 control the earth's temperature. Chlorofluorocarbon destruction of stratospheric ozone correlates nicely with both the stratosphere cooling and earth warming anomalies seen over the time span from 1966 to 1998. CFCs appear to be the dominant cause of greater than normal earth warming. One can account for most, if not all of the 0.48oC rise in earth's temperature from 1966 to 1998 with the additional UV light that hit the earth due to loss of ozone in the stratosphere.


(1) D'Aleo, J. S., "Correlation Last Decade and This Century CO2 and Global Temperatures Not There" Data used to develop graph:
NASA microwave sounding unit for temperature of lower troposphere:
Hadley Met Centre for the temperature of the land and oceans:
and Scripps monthly CO2 concentrations from the Mauna Lao, Hawaii Observatory:

(2) Houghton, J.T., et. al.,"Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis Contribution of Working Group I to the
Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Cambridge University
Press, UK, pp 944, 2001.

(3) Walter, K.M., et al. "Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming",
Nature 443, 71-75, Sept. 7, 2006.

(4) Halley Bay ozone data taken by the British Antarctic Survey,

(5) United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Vital Ozone Graphics, p. 13, ISBN 978-92-807-2814-9

(6) Nobel Prize in Chemistry, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, October 11, 1995.

(7) Zander, R. et. al., "The 1985 chlorine and fluorine inventories in the stratosphere based on ATMOS
Observations at 30 degrees North latitude", J. Atmos. Chem. 15, 171, 1992.

(8) HadAT2 radiosonde developed by the United Kingdom Met Office Hadley Centre, maintained by Peter Thorne
and Holly Titchner. Hosted by Met Office Hadley Centre for
Climate Change.

(9) Brohan, P., 2006: Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new
dataset from 1850, J. Geophysical Research 111, D12106, doi: 10.1029/2005JD006548

(10) "Impacts of a Warming Arctic: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, ACIA Overview Report", Cambridge
University Press, 2004

(11) "Australia State of the Environment 2001 Independent Report to the Commonwealth Minister for the
Environment and Heritage, p. 27.

(12) Lean, J. 2000, Evolution of the Sun's Spectral Irradiance Since the Maunder minimum. Geophysical Research
Letters, Vol. 27, No. 16, pp.2425-2428, Aug. 15, 2000

(13) Duan, A. (2007), "Cooling trend in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere over China",
Geophys. Res. Lett., 34

Bob Ashworth's picture
Thank Bob for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Ferdinand E. Banks's picture
Ferdinand E. Banks on Sep 4, 2009
Bob, you could very definitely be right, but I wonder if I can take the word of a chemical engineer in this matter. Better a chemical engineer than fools like Paul Johnson, Lord Something-or-Other, and Bjorn Lomborg, but even so I suspect - although I am not certain - that to really master this subject you need a lot of years of intensive study.

Maybe though it's jealousy on my part. If I had been smart enough or alert enough to become a chemical engineer or an electronic deisgn engineer like Bob A., I probably would tune out everytime I heard global warming mentioned.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 4, 2009
Ferdinand: I don't consider myself as being smart. I have found in my lifetime that everything we want to know about life and the universe is very simple and staring us in the face.

I analyzed global warming like I do everything else, no preconceived ideas going in. Whether I get a result I like or don't like doesn't matter. The data does the talking and I listen. As you see I got a result here that others have not seen, yet it should have been obvious to those who have worked in the climate field their whole lives. The ozone hole is still there and more UV light is still hitting the earth. There is much more energy in UV light than infra-red light to heat up things (E=hf), so why didn't they see this? However, having said this, it is still very easy to overlook the obvious. Every time I finally find a truth I have been looking for I always tell myself, you are dumb as a brick, you should have recognized that long ago. Our brains for some reason want to make things complex when in reality nothing is complicated.

Harry Valentine's picture
Harry Valentine on Sep 4, 2009
Let us not underestimate the impact of volcanic emssions on the ozone layer - - - they can be every bit as harmful to the ozone as CFC's. Part of the global warming phenomena may be self inflicted by Mother Nature . . . ocean tides (El Nino and El Nina), abnormal solar cycles and emissions from volcanic eruptions. Climate change of an earlier era has been cited as having being responsible for having wiped out miost of the Mayan Empire of Latin America.

Humanity today has the technology to adapt to changing weather patterns and climate change regardless of source.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 4, 2009
Harry: When you look at Figure 2 above, the El Chichon eruption did not appear to affect the ozone concentration but you could make an argument that the Pinatubo eruption did lower ozone. The effect is probably determined by what was spewed out. Further the particulate spewed out from Pinatubo had a greater effect than that of ozone destruction, for although ozone dropped during that period, the temperature did not drop it increased. However, as you can see the effect of a large volcanic eruption is not is not very long lived, some two to three years only.
Bob Amorosi's picture
Bob Amorosi on Sep 8, 2009
I've been saying all along that CO2 by itself is not the only potential disruptor of climate behavior, there are many other factors that must be considered. This fascinating article is links global climate temperature changes to emissions of other man-made pollutants and volcanic emissions sources.

The destruction of the ozone layer was one of the first causes for concern decades ago because of increased incident UV radiation hitting the earth. If this article turns out to be highly accurate, ozone layer destruction is far more important to climate change than burning of fossil fuels. This could be great news for natural gas and coal. But declining oil production in the coming years will force us off oil dependency in any case. If nothing else it could be a wake-up call to the potentially misguided looming cap&trade or carbon tax measures about to be imposed on us.

Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 8, 2009
Bob: It would be great if you were right, and I hope you are, as CFCs are much easier to manage than CO2 emissions. The next 10-20 years might illuminate the merit of this theory vs. the conventional CO2-based theory. Unfortunately, I do remain dubious at this point.

However, either way, its points to the frailty of our environment and how much man's efforts can affect it.

Douglas Trerice's picture
Douglas Trerice on Sep 8, 2009
Bob, I congratulate you for the fine analysis and the effort that you put into this! Now all we have to do is derail all those other misconceptions about global warming and get down to solving our other most pressing problems, instead of spending our limited resources on chasing a red herring. How can we get your work a larger scientific and POLITICAL audience? Do any of you that follow this rag have any ideas on how to get this published more widely? Prof. Ferdinand Banks?? I am just another Chem. Eng. who can perform mass and energy balances!
Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 8, 2009
Bob, This ancient Ch.E. is glad to see a mass and energy balance expressed in BTU’s, pounds and degrees Rankine. I have wondered if I were the last man standing. With only a quick once-through reading I can’t comment (yet) on the arithmetic (and isn’t it all about arithmetic?) but what I got made good sense to me.
John Buckley's picture
John Buckley on Sep 9, 2009

Although I see convincing evidence that global climate change is occurring, for 20 years I've questioned one of the basic charts used to explain man-made CO2 as the main culprit. One example is here: . The problem I've had with that chart is that it has a single annual peak and a single annual valley. We all know that man-made CO2 emissions from the developed countries that emit the vast majority of CO2 have peak and valley twice each year. My question has always been, If man-made CO2 is trumping natural production of CO2, why doesn't the growing concentration data show that? And to the folks who claim global climate change is a hoax, how do you explain the CO2 concentration growing year after year? Your explanation is the first one I've seen that convincingly explains both the annual growth in CO2 concentration, and the single annual peak and valley. Thank you.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 9, 2009
Bob: Fist, an excellent and worthy contribution. A fine effort to stay with the topic. However I grow a little concerned with statements such as your following:

"Therefore, when there is low stratospheric ozone, more UV (A, B & C) light from the sun passes through the atmosphere to hit earth and heat it up."

1) The issue with AGW is primarily one of earth re-radiating energy back out to space, a process which is blocked by increased IR blocker gasses in the atmosphere. Your discussion of incoming UV blocker levels may be relevant or not, I don't have enough data to decide. It appears from your discussion that UV-C is always blocked by oxygen regardless of CFC levels, so the question is "How much of the sun's radiant energy arrives at the upper atmosphere as UV-A and B?"

2) The earth has such huge heat sinks available in its oceans that i'd be surprised if the full effects of GHG emissions are even apparent yet. Its not present GHG effects on present climate that concerns me, but present emissions on future climate averages. Analysing short periods of temperature averages may or may not be interesting to that debate, though I can see that your use of those is more to co-relate with CFC levels than to discuss climate.

I think this topic needs some further research.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 9, 2009
I also question your process of assigning all excess UV which enters to causing an increase in temperature. Why would that make sense when such an increase in temperature will cause an increase in re-radiation, given static unchanged blocking, as you assme? eg. a 1 degR increase in temperature should require sufficient increase in incoming energy to both cause the 1 degR increase in temperature of all affected materials, as you calculate, PLUS sufficient to supply the additional IR re-radiation caused by that increase in temperature, over the time period of that increased temperature.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 9, 2009
Along with Len's points, one could argue that any depletion of the ozone layer which allows more energy IN would also allow more energy OUT in the form of re-radiation. It seems to be a given that, all other parameters considered, a planet with a thicker atmosphere is hotter (overall) than one with a thinner atmosphere.
Bob Amorosi's picture
Bob Amorosi on Sep 9, 2009

Your more-in therefore more-out statement makes sense and would apply provided what comes in is reflected or later re-emitted back out again equally as easily as it came in. The article says though that UV is allowed in where much of it is then converted to heat through absorption. The radiation going back out later at night presumably is re-emitted at infrared wavelengths, not UV, so I doubt whether as much thermal energy would be lost going out as what came in. Probably not equivalent since the wavelengths are different. If anything other things might tend to act as a heat sink trapping the thermal energy, like the oceans and other component gases in the atmosphere including CO2 and water vapor. Something like a what a real greenhouse does.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 9, 2009
Sorry Gentlemen for not responding sooner to some queries. Fred: Look closer, the oxygen is a weight percent concentration, not volume.

The increased UV light energy I calculated is based on the cooling of the stratosphere from 1966 to 1998. If the energy is not absorbed in the stratosphere it has to pass through and be absorbed in the troposphere and earth. No rocket science required.

Gentlemen, hate to burst your bubbles but the IPCC re-radiation effect is bogus Even so, many scientists, even college professors, are expounding this inane stupidity. My college Profs are probably turning over in their graves because of this. Let me just say this, if 1 Btu/hr of energy hits the earth, 3 or more Btus per hour cannot be radiating away from the earth. YOU CANNOT GET MORE ENERGY OUT OF A SYSTEM THAN YOU PUT INTO IT! Period - case closed!

Of course all bodies radiate energy but the net heat transfer is always from the hotter to cooler body, never the other way around. The net rate of radiation is calculated using the temperatures and emissivities of the two bodies. This, my friends is Thermodynamics 101 which apparently they are not teaching anymore. They must have stopped shortly after I graduated. Nowadays you write a computer program and whatever it spews out you accept as gospel, no need to analyze the actual data.

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 9, 2009
Seems to me Bob has used the defining method of chemical engineering quite effectively. Draw an envelope around the problem. Account for the weight in vs out, components in vs out, enthalpy in vs enthalpy out, heats of reaction, and added heat. Except for radio activity (which can be accommodated) this type of analysis is rigorous.
Jim Beyer's picture
Jim Beyer on Sep 10, 2009

There you go again with this re-radiation rant. Just who are these professors that dispute this? No one seems to have argued with NASA determining the temperatures of our Solar System's planets over the past 50 years. Not sure why this would be so controversial at this point in time,

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 10, 2009
Don: "Except for radio activity (which can be accommodated) this type of analysis is rigorous. " -- You're wrong. As I pointed out, Bob's "envelope" fails to account for the increased IR re-radiation caused by his claimed increased temperature due to the increased UV capture.
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 10, 2009
Jim: It does make me mad; this should have never been an item for discussion. I rant because Dr. Lindzen of MIT and the two professors in Colorado who developed the graph the IPCC uses, support the more energy in than out concept although Lindzen does disagree that CO2 is causing warming.

I have no problem with NASA temperatures except maybe those that Hansen develops. If you look at either the NASA or Hadley UK Met Lab temperature data the earth has cooled over the last ten years, so no problem there.

Bob Amorosi's picture
Bob Amorosi on Sep 10, 2009
The big question is which one has changed the most from normal levels - increased incident sunlight energy incident on the earth’s surface from ozone destruction, or less re-radiated thermal energy from increased CO2 trapping additional heat in.

We know ozone destruction started in recent decades whereas CO2 has been increasing for over a century. We also know CO2 levels were already elevated substantially before ozone destruction began. The problem is that widespread climate changes happening now are clearly the combined effect from both because ozone destruction and increased CO2 are both present, we cannot separate their individual effects to measure them. But chronologically the climate changes were not happening or were too small to be noticed before ozone destruction started.

One is therefore inclined to bet that ozone destruction has let a greater energy rate in than CO2 has been reducing energy going out. It’s impossible to prove other than by theoretical calculation however.

From a practical viewpoint, I claim once again that CO2 is not the only factor, and the evidence in this article strongly suggests it may not necessarily be the biggest factor either. The only way CO2 could be the biggest factor is that if CO2-driven climate change alone is happening exponentially faster than the rate CO2 is increasing.

Reducing CO2 emissions might very well help reverse climate change, but I fear it will not get us the biggest bang for the cost. Consider those disputing CO2 alone is driving climate change, and given as Jim says ozone destruction is much easier to manage and deal with than curbing CO2 emissions, at least why not pursue ozone destruction management with as much effort as is being focused on curbing CO2? Like the old saying you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, and in this case the analogy is especially if another basket is much easier to carry without dropping.

Bob Amorosi's picture
Bob Amorosi on Sep 10, 2009
Fred, WE have banned CFCs but has every country done so? I got the impression they haven't from the article.
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 10, 2009
Gentlemen: CFCs are banned in developed countries. They will be banned in underdeveloped countries like China, Mexico and others in 2010. The problem is that CFCS stay in the stratosphere for long periods of time. I put a proposal into the Virgin Earth Challenge to remove the chlorine that is liberated by CFCs in the stratosphere by spraying sodium hydroxide over the oceans. It would tie up the chlorine as sodium chloride and fall into the ocean. Of course Branson is in bed with Gore on CO2 and so my proposal was rejected.

Joe Bastardi of Accuweather debunked CO2 causing warming last night on Fox (O'Reilly). O'Reilly used to buy into the AGW hoax but no more. He was man enough to admit that he was wrong. I found it today on YouTube if you care to watch it, about 3.5 minutes long..

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 10, 2009
Fred Linn wrote"Everyday, humans pour billions of tons of new CO2 into the atmosphere."

This slide rule engineer first finds the order of magnitude. By a very quick and very dirty few second calc I say it's somewhere around one hundred million tons per day. Not multple billions of tons per day. 500x10^15 x.5 x 44/12 / (365 x 10000 x 2000) = 1 x 10^8 tons per day CO2.

Petty, perhaps, and I am sorry. But where we can agree on arithmeic and facts let's not waste the opportunity. Perhaps Fred meant every year.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 11, 2009
Don: Here is the IPCC estimate that shows humans emitted 2.9% of the total CO2 to the atmosphere and nature the rest. It is every year, not every day.

TABLE 1. GLOBAL SOURCES AND ABSORPTION OF CO2 Carbon Dioxide: Natural Human Made Total Absorption

Annual Million Metric Tons 770,000 23,100 793,100 781,400 % of Total 97.1% 2.9% 100% 98.5% Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis (Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press, 2001), Figure 3.1, p. 188.

Using the table above in combination with a total concentration of 385 ppmv of CO2 seen in the atmosphere in January 2008, one sees that the increase in CO2 caused by all of man's activities amounted to only 11.5 ppmv. The amount of CO2 from man is a mouse milk quantity compared to nature's emissions. If we eliminated all anthropogenic CO2 emissions, we would go back to the level we had in 2001-2002 when it was warmer than it is now.

Hope this helps put things into perspective.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 11, 2009
Don: Sorry table came out skewed. You can see the table correctly in the May paper of mine on "No Evidence that Carbon Dioxide is Causing Global Warming.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 11, 2009
Fred: The oceans already contain around 3% sodium chloride. Sodium hydroxide is very reactive and what doesn't react with the chlorine to form sodium chloride should react with CO2 to form sodium carbonate.
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 11, 2009
Fred: You dilute the sodium hydroxide and air atomize it in the stratosphere. I see process engineering isn't your forte.
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 11, 2009
Back in the 70's when the first ozone discussions began, my chemistry prof recommended putting up ozone generating satellites. Since we sell ozone generators for the home, not sure what would be so difficult about this, especially if they are solar powered. In fact this would be a nice project for Rutan, wouldn't need to be space based, just very high orbit. Maybe easier than transporting all the sodium hydroxide solution to that altitude, since we can cause ozone to accumulate by ionization methods.

Bastardi is like the other 95% of meteorologists who don't believe in AGW. Funny those with the most day to day experience concerning weather don't believe those who merely prognosticate about it. Kind of like stock traders not believing what the economists are saying. :)

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 11, 2009
I suspect that if you spayed NaOH far aloft it would react with CO2 in the air before reaching the surface. This is the reaction in the Orsat apparatus long used to measure the CO2 content of flue gases. A sample of flue gas is bubbled through caustic solution (KOH or NaOH) and the loss in volume is the mol percent CO2 of the flue gas. Works great. Fred Linn, the effect of lye pits in old ghoulish story books and Hollywood are very much of literary license. I was literally drenched from the chest down with the stuff when a transfer hose came undone and the full steam hit me squarely. I didn’t shower for quite some time as I stayed on the job to help set things right. By then NaOH had crystallized out. All I suffered was a slight redness on tender skin, as back of the knees and inside the elbows, gone in hours. Never-the –less not recommended.
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 12, 2009
Old news Fred, I guess you were asleep while it was going on. Don't you remember the Cullen pogrom? That in turn led to a huge counter-backlash which is where I got my number. I documented the sources previously two years ago, but here it is for you again. Read it and weep. Note the 95% just like I said. he Ohio TV meteorologists, Dan Webster, Dick Goddard, Mark Johnson, Mark Nolan and John Loufman, mocked the UN's global warming alarmism. "You tell me you’re going to predict climate change based on 100 years of data for a rock that’s 6 billion years old?" Johnson said. "I’m not sure which is more arrogant — to say we caused (global warming) or that we can fix it," Nolan said. "Mr. Webster observed that in his dealings with meteorologists nationwide, ‘about 95%’ share his skepticism about global warming," the paper reported. Johnson dismissed the new UN IPCC summary, “Consensus does not mean fact. … Don’t drink the Kool-Aid."
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 12, 2009
Jeff: Making ozone was my first thought as well, but the chlorine will keep destroying ozone. Estimated to last 50 years or so. We only need to remove the chlorine once. The other way you would have to generate ozone for some length of time, maybe 20-30 years.
Kent Wright's picture
Kent Wright on Sep 12, 2009
Mr. Ashworth, No challenge here, just a couple of honest questions. First, what exactly is the transport mechanism for the relatively heavy CFC molecules to reach up to the ozone layers and do the deed? And second, how is it that the flatulence of 6.7 billion humans is never considered in methane analyses?
Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 13, 2009
Kent: The gases become well mixed because of gaseous diffusion; a process by which molecules intermingle as a result of their kinetic energy of random motion.

That is why even though oxygen is heavier than nitrogen they still get intimately mixed in the atmosphere. I am not sure how molecular weights enter into the speed of diffusion but CFCs have been measured in the stratosphere, see Figure 6.

I would think they would include methane from humans and all other animals, but maybe not. A lot of scientists don't seem to be very thorough. For instance, I doubt they calculate the cooling effect of photosynthesis which is a heat aborbing (endothermic) reaction when they are predicting global warming.

Kent Wright's picture
Kent Wright on Sep 13, 2009
Thanks Bob. I have, or thought I had, a pretty good handle on gaseous diffusion which is why I posed the question of a seeming anomaly in gas behavior while under the influence of gravity.

In a confined space without a mechanism with which to move gases around, say by heat or mechanically induced convection, a mixture of heavy and light gases will eventually separate into layers, therefore random diffusion alone is insufficient to cause thorough mixing. For example, CO2 released into a confined space will tend to seek lower elevations whereas light gases like helium will rise. Thankfully, human effluent methane is a lighter gas and also rises. Gaseous oxygen and nitrogen are probably close enough in weight to remain together as a diffuse mixture of two gases, for a long time anyway, so the laws of gas diffusion easily prevail over gravity .

In the troposphere (atmosphere below about 30,000 feet) the mixture of a variety of gases is kept randomized by the heating/cooling patterns which cause wind currents. Without the variations in solar incidence there would be no wind to stir up the air and the heavier molecules like water vapor, dust particles, and heavy gases like, halon, CFCs, CO2, etc., would settle into lower elevations due to greater influence by gravity, ....or so the argument goes.

As I learned it, the next higher layer in the atmosphere, the stratosphere, wherein lies the ozone layer, was so named because it is a stratified layer, highly stable, unaffected by convection and is characterized by a lack of water vapor and other matter such as dust. It would further seem that a seriously heavier molecules of CFC (CCl3F), et al, would literally outweigh the effects of random diffusion, especially if they encounter a stratified layer. Would not stratification help to inhibit natural transport, or mixing, of atmospheric gases between those layers?

I would offer this as a counterpoint if I were more educated in the total behavior of complex molecules, which is why I am asking not telling. Obviously these heavier gases do exist in the stratosphere – I am merely trying to understand why the CFCs are “defying gravity” so to speak. Diffusion, as a transport mechanism, seems intuitively inadequate, but I do not deny it out of hand. Inquiring minds, ..... etc.

Another question I would like for you to consider is a possible effect that is also never mentioned and that is the effect upon the stratosphere by jet airliners. Because of its relative stability above the turbulence of the troposphere, the stratosphere is the preferred flight zone for passenger jets. From this I speculate that the stratosphere is has acquired a new mixing agent since the 1950’s and 60’s, jet airplanes. Upon pondering this, it does seem to me that if jets do have an effect it could be quite large and growing given the several hundreds of flights per day and perhaps hundreds of thousands of flights per year. I would also guess the effects would be cumulative given that the stratosphere has a more or less fixed volume.

It further seems a certainty that jet exhaust is a direct means of delivering CO2 into the stratosphere in large quantities. If jet engines are introducing a large quantity of “new” CO2 into the ozone layer, would it not follow that O3 would be a smaller % of the total, even without depletion, and that stratospheric CO2 would be rising in inverse proportion? Has upper level CO2 been measured too?

And finally, could it be that CFCs are swept into the stratosphere by being dragged along by the slipstreams of jet aircraft?

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 14, 2009
Jeff: FYI - Confirming your comment! Global Warming Fever Debra J. Saunders Tuesday, June 13, 2006 Excerpt from article:

Neil Frank, former director of the National Hurricane Center, told the Washington Post that global warming is "a hoax."

I call it the greatest worldwide scam ever!

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 14, 2009

I found this by Parsons of Colorado U on the web. Diffusion is slow but occurs.

"The time scale for mixing tropospheric and lower stratospheric air is about 3-5 years, so stratospheric chlorine is expected to peak in about 1998 and then to decline slowly, on a time scale of about 50 years. [WMO 1994] [Montzka et al. 1996]"

Montzka was right it did peak in 1998 and then started dropping slowly

Don Hirschberg's picture
Don Hirschberg on Sep 14, 2009
Kent, Thanks for raising some points I have not seriously considered. As to the weight of gasses in the atmosphere, water is a lightweight , not among the heavies as implied. The relative weights are methane (natural gas and farts) at 16, water at 18, air, the mixture we breathe, at 29, CO2 at 44, ozone at 48, and CF hydrocarbons at much higher weights, Freon 22, the modern refrigerant, at 86+.

As an aside, we frequently hear from sports experts commenting about “heavy air” (i.e. high humidity air) reducing the carry of the ball. Actually the higher the humidity the lighter the air. This has been known since long before Abner Doubleday. Yet they still haven’t gotten the word.

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 15, 2009
I'm still waiting for Bob's response to my 9.9.09 comment regarding his erroneous energy balance calculation.
Chavdar Azarov's picture
Chavdar Azarov on Sep 15, 2009
Fellow - bloggers, Please compare the increase of world electricity production to speed of Arctic and Antarctic ice melting. For example: China produces 792.5GW per year with an expected future ten percent annual increase -

Please be aware on the effect of induction heating from electrical generators to the Earth crust. The effect of induction heating is well described even in Wikipedia and this effect might lead to collecting of heat inside the Earth crust comparable to quantity of ever-produced electricity. The links below might be helpful:

Support to every one who is gonna to use less energy than before might reduce the effect of Climate change.

Bob Ashworth's picture
Bob Ashworth on Sep 15, 2009
Len: I also question your process of assigning all excess UV which enters to causing an increase in temperature. I'm still waiting for Bob's response to my 9.9.09 comment regarding his erroneous energy balance calculation.

The energy balance is correct Len. It is apparent that you have never done a mass and energy balance. Here is what you do when you add energy, it heats up that which you added it to. This re-radiation bullshit is just that bullshit. Once the body is heated, It loses heat by the T^4 difference between the hotter body and the cooler body taking into consideratioon the emissivities of the two bodies.

Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 15, 2009
Missing link: Len doesn't understand the Inverse Square Law...
Kent Wright's picture
Kent Wright on Sep 15, 2009
Don Regarding yourcorrection on the "heaviness" of H2O --- ouch! Should have spotted that myself. I can see where H2O, even though lighter than air and trending upward by diffusion, would eventually come back down due to sheer weight because of condensation/crystalization. That would explain the alleged absence of water vapor in the stratosphere. Given that both CO2 and H2O are bi-products of jet fuel combustion, they both should reveal themselves in meaurable quantities "up there".
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
Bob: "This re-radiation bullshit is just that bullshit." -- ardon me but what "science" texts are you reading?
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 16, 2009
Len, pardon ME, but what science texts have YOU read?
Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 16, 2009
Bob, here's a link you may enjoy, read down to the section: Climate models made by unlicensed 'software engineers' where you'll read the following, apropos to your article: Another high-profile UN IPCC lead author, Dr. Kevin Trenberth, recently echoed Renwick’s sentiments about climate models by referring to them as “story lines.”

“In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers ‘what if’ projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios,” Trenberth wrote in journal Nature’s blog on June 4, 2007. He also admitted that the climate models have major shortcomings because “they do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents. There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess."

The models "assume" that CO2 is "forcing" the climate to get warmer, then when the level of CO2 rises and nothing happens in the "real" world, they tweak the models some more, but rarely back off from the "sky is falling" prognostications. The lack of warming coupled with the rise in CO2 you allude to in your article is very telling, and one of the key reasons the discussion is now about "Climate Change" instead of "Global Warming". I just watched the comedy, "The day after tomorrow" last night, which is almost as funny as the South Park episode, "Two days before the day after tomorrow". In the movie we note that global "warming" leads to an immediate ice age. Pretty funny stuff, although I'm glad I waited until it was on TV instead of wasting my hard-earned shekels on such nonsense at the theater. Science fiction I enjoy, fictional science, not so much. :)

Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
jeff: Are you seriously supporting the statement "This re-radiation bullshit is just that bullshit" regarding earth's energy balance? Re-radiation of energy away from earth is of no consequence regarding the average temperature of earth atmosphere at surface? That is such an incredibly dumb statement to make by an author of an article where the title inculdes "Cause of Recent Global Warming" as to be completely incomprehensible. I mean, I know you AGW sceptics simply ignore science at will, but to come straight out and admit it indicates brazen faith-based ignorance of even the basics of science.
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
Especially when the entire premis of the article in question is based in an eroneous supposed calculation of earth's energy balance!
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
Len Gould's picture
Len Gould on Sep 16, 2009
I had been expecting to settle the issue of re-radiation as the first error in the article, but since that's being ignored, I may as well raise some of the other obvious errors in the article.

1) The author, without reference, arbitrarily proposes that only the top 10 inches of earth soil participate in any warming due to external factors. Everyone in our area knows that a water pipe or building foundation must be burried to at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) depth to avoid being frozen in the short seasonal temperature changes common even at 45 deg. lat., proving that variations in atmospheric temperature rapidly affect earth surface down to at least that depth. Travel north to the border of the permafrost zone and that figue goes to well beyond two meters. Therefore, the author should have used at least 72 inches, not 10 inches, in his energy balance calculation.

2) Same problem as above with ocean surface water. Claiming that only the top 10 inches of the ocean participate in affecting earth's average surface temperature over a long time period is almost certainly a very significant error.

3) What basis figure does the author use to compute the specific heat of earth's surface (even to 10 inches)? Is it the specific heat of dry rock / soil? If so, then it understates the actual specific heat by the specific heat of the water content of that surface soil, which is sure to be much higher.

In summary, the input energies the author calculates in order to raise earth's surface temperature a specific amount are far too low, and then presuming that raising earth's surface temperature will not cause an increase in re-radiation compounds that error. Whereas the author claims that the amount of additional energy captured by additional CFC's in the upper atmosphere are sufficient to explain recent increases in measured temperatures, in fact they probably only explain 10% of that variation, and that variation has been already accounted for in present climate models.

Unfortunately for the author, venturing into areas of science where one is not qualified often result in such tragi-comic outcomes. Too bad he chose to make it such a public event.

Jeff Presley's picture
Jeff Presley on Sep 16, 2009
Len, you are seriously under-qualified to try and put words into my mouth. My question is something else entirely. Rather than try to deal with your apparently remedial knowledge of chemistry, physics and geology, I wanted to know your background better, to at least attempt you education on these subjects. You've proven already you don't understand the concept of the inverse square law, how are you going to understand Kirchhoff's Law? Or do you believe the planet earth is a hohlraum?


Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »